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Cyndi Harvell- Heartache And Revolution
With song titles like “Flood,” “Avalanche” and “Burn Down The House,” one might think that the new release from Cyndi Harvell titled Heartache and Revolution foretells some imminent type of disaster. Hardly the case. It is more about the positive ways in which people respond to disaster. For this release, Harvell wrote about fifty songs and chose twelve of her favorites. Despite what may seem like an homage to disaster this is a really uplifting, upbeat release of a mixture of smart, folk-pop music with a bit of her native Athens, GA Southern roots mixed in for good measure. Produced by Jim Greer, better known in the Hip-Hop genre, what results are twelve highly enjoyable songs that play through fast enough that you are left wanting more. I could not get this CD copied to the music server quickly enough.
The Chris Parker Trio- The Chris Parker Trio
Chris Parker has a forty plus year career recording and playing drums with some of the more stellar acts in music. The Brecker Brothers, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Paul Simon, Michael Bolton and Suzy Boggus are just a few of the wide cross section of performers with whom Chris Parker has worked. For this CD, the remainder of the tri consists of Ameen Saleem on bass and Kyoko Oyobe on piano and is one of the new releases on the newly created jazz division of GPR Records. Parker has nicely mixed some traditional jazz in with very funky jazz as evidenced on the track “I Want You.” In fact, within the jazz genre, this is a CD that can’t be really defined as one type of jazz or another. Owing to the wide diversity of Parker’s background with other artists, it is really an amalgamation of jazz that, rather be defined by a musical type, is just good music.
Steve Picataggio- Two Feet On The Ground
At the tender age of ten at camp near his South Florida home is where Steve Picataggio first encountered music. He spent his entire formal education in music in one form or another- from marching bands to jazz ensembles. He studied under the tutelage of world renowned jazz drummer Danny Gottlieb and has also performed with Joe Lovano, John Pizzarelli and Terence Blanchard. He completed his Masters Degree from New York University Steinhardt School of Music. Two Feet on the Ground, his fist release on his own label is, as he puts it, “represents my first two years living in New York City.” The eight selections are covers of music by Monk, Gershwin, Ellington and even Carl Perkins, as well as original compositions, and all interpreted in his own style. Manifestly, this is a traditional jazz recording but with a modern twist. This is a very enjoyable CD.
Sandy Carroll- Unnaturally Blonde
Born in McNairy County in West Tennessee (just East of Memphis) Sandy Carroll has, as she puts it, ” been playing, writing and singing music forever!” Her husband is the Grammy award winning producer Jim Gaines and Unnaturally Blonde is her latest release on the Catfood Records label. Manifestly, Carroll’s music is a combination of blues, a little funk and soul. The first nine tracks range from straight up blues, to a blues / folk style and even a bit of rock mixed in for fun. The tenth track, Waltzing to Sunset (aka Pappy’s Song) is a very tender tribute to her father in law, Pappy Gaines, and her own father Gilcie Carroll. I’m sure she would not mind if sons and daughters everywhere used it for their own tribute.
In thirty years of music, Keith Davis has played the role of jazz pianist, composer and educator. He has toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Artie Shaw Orchestra and Matt “Guitar” Murphy of the Blues Brothers movie fame. He also recorded two CD’s with the Teddy Adams Quintet. His list of artists with whom he has worked is impressive. “Still” is his first release under his own name on the LoNote label. All nine tracks are essentially traditional, straight up jazz. When listening to the CD I kept thinking “simple,” owing mainly to the fact that the trio consists of a piano, bass and drums. After the fifth track I changed simple to “elegant.” Tadji’s Groove, the ninth track, picks up a little steam and shows this trio can get going if they so choose. And it was my favorite. All in all, very listenable, “elegant” music.
James Zollar- It’s All Good People
Half way through the first track on Zollar’s new CD, It’s All Good People on the JZAZ Records label, I kept thinking, “man this guy can just kill the trumpet.” His early inspirations were the West Coast style of funk from the likes of Tower Of Power and Sly And The Family Stone. But he also adds a Latin and Brazilian edge to his music as well. Additionally, his style can be quite sensitive as shown on track six- Kansas City Cha-Cha. He is accompanied by a host of stellar musicians and I found “It’s All Good People” to be just that. All good.